Technology KnowledgeBase
Macintosh OS X Articles
Macintosh OS: Out of Disk Space Message
Added on Thu, Apr 30, 2020
Drives must have some open storage space to use for temporary files during normal operation. It is recommended to have at least 20% of a drive available for temporary files. For a 125G drive, this translates to 25G of available storage.  When ... Read More
How do I check my Home Folder size and clear up space on my computer?
Added on Mon, Apr 4, 2016
NOTE: The average NSD Home Folder size is under 65GB on a district issued Apple computer.  You can check the size of your Home Folder by opening Self Service (in the Applications folder) and running the Home Folder Size policy. Instructions for... Read More
Backup Your Macintosh Computer with iDrive
Added on Wed, Feb 19, 2020
I’m new to Mac, or would like a refresher course. Where can I learn more about Macs and macOS High Sierra?
Added on Wed, Jul 8, 2009
If you're new to Macs or need a refresher course on how to get the most out of your Mac, you've come to the right place. If you recently switched to Mac from a Windows PC, visit Switching PC Habits*.  To learn about the Mac OS, visit Start... Read More
How do I change my screen resolution (screen size) on my Mac when connected to an active board or flat panel display?
Added on Tue, Jun 30, 2009
The system often will not show the Display icon in the menubar even when you have an external display connected (a problem since Mac OS X 10.8). If you are having that problem, you can use the Display Menu application instead, which is located in the... Read More
Everything on my screen seems too big / small. How can I change the screen resolution?
Added on Wed, Jul 22, 2009
The Display Menu application is installed on all Mac computers. Display Menu provides an icon in the menubar along the top of your iMac or MacBook to quickly set the resolution for your computer display as well projectors, additional monitors, or... Read More
How do I open iTunes , Movies, or Pictures libraries from my external drive?
Added on Thu, Nov 29, 2018
Once you've transferred a copy of your iTunes, Movies, or Picture libraries onto an external hard drive, you will need to set a new path for the iTunes, Movies, or Pictures app by redirecting it to search the external hard drive for content,... Read More
After I enter my username and password at the login screen, the message appears "The system was unable to unlock your login keychain".
Added on Thu, Dec 14, 2017
Keychains in Mac OS X are Apple's password management system. They are stored locally on the computer for each user that has logged in, and are specific to that user. Especially after an online password change or computer swap, a keychain entry... Read More
I play a lot of foreign DVDs and need to keep changing the region code. Is there any way around this?
Added on Thu, May 20, 2010
You can use the VLC Player application to play most (but not all) foreign DVDs. On your Mac, insert your DVD disc into the drive. The DVD Player application will open up and prompt you to change the region code. Leave this message up on the screen ... Read More
All of the Desktop icons have disappeared from my Desktop. How do I get them back?
Added on Mon, Apr 19, 2010
Try relaunching Finder using the following process: Click on the black Apple in the upper left corner of the window. Select Force Quit. In the Force Quit window, highlight Finder and click on Relaunch. If this doesn't work, fill out a Web Help... Read More
When I move the mouse the whole screen moves around. Also everything seems zoomed in.
Added on Wed, Jul 22, 2009
Sounds like you have Apple's Accessibility feature, Zoom, enabled. You can toggle Zoom off using the keyboard shortcut Option-Command-8.  If that doesn't work, check the settings in the Accessibility Preference Pane: Click on the Apple... Read More
Spotlight search is not working. I am searching for a file that I know is on my computer but Spotlight can’t find it.
Added on Tue, Jul 21, 2009
After updating Mac computers to OS 10.11, the drive will need to be re-indexed to optimize searches. This should happen automatically after the update and can take up to 45 minutes to complete.   If Spotlight stops working, you can force Spotlight... Read More
How do I find out the IP address of a computer?
Added on Fri, Oct 9, 2009
If you are logged into the computer, click on the gray apple in the upper left corner of your computer screen and select System Preferences... from the drop down menu. Open the Network preference. In the sidebar, select Ethernet if you are... Read More
I logged in as northshore on a computer, and the next day when I logged in as northshore all my documents were gone.
Added on Thu, Jul 23, 2009
In Mac OS X 10.9 "Mavericks", the Guest login account is set up to allow anyone to log on. The Guest userspace is now called "northshore", it is designed to allow your guest (or someone not normally assigned to your computer) to log on and... Read More
How can I make my MacBook Air mirroring settings hold after restarting?
Added on Thu, Mar 26, 2015
To make mirroring settings hold through a logout or shutdown, the display settings must be set to optimize for the projector, rather than the built in display of your computer. This option is found in system preferences within the Displays menu.... Read More
I have an open application on my Desktop that is halfway off the screen. How do I move it back?
Added on Tue, Jul 14, 2009
Position the cursor in the top gray section of the application window then click and drag the window back onto your Desktop. Be careful not to click in the red/yellow/green buttons in the top left corner or on the closure lozenge in the top right. If... Read More
How do I set the mouse so that it will right click as the secondary menu?
Added on Tue, Jun 30, 2009
Click on the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your screen. Select System Preferences. Click on  Mouse. You will see a picture of your mouse. Use the drop-down menu on the right side and select “Secondary Button”. Close out of System... Read More
How can I find the IP address of my Mac or Windows computer?
Added on Tue, Jun 30, 2009
MAC OS X Staff & Student Computers running OS 10.9: IP addresses are viewable while logged into the computer. While logged into the computer, click on the Apple in the upper left corner of your screen and select System Preferences. Click on the... Read More
What are the F keys? Why don’t the volume and screen brightness keys work on my keyboard?
Added on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
By default, those keys are set to be "function" keys which requires you to press the fn key on your keyboard while pressing the desired function key (MacBook users, the fn key is in the lower left corner of your keyboard. Some iMac keyboards have... Read More
How do I add or remove Applications and Folders from the Dock? How else can I customize the Dock?
Added on Tue, Jun 30, 2009
The Dock is a place to keep shortcuts (aka aliases) for quick reference. Keep in mind that the items don't "live" on the Dock. The icons on the Dock simply point to another location on your hard drive (so don't delete the original!). NOTE... Read More
My computer won’t boot up. It’s frozen on a gray or blue screen.
Added on Tue, Jul 7, 2009
Shut down your Mac. If necessary, hold your Mac's power button for 8-10 seconds (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc.) to force it to power down. Disconnect all peripheral devices such as external hard drives, USB printers, keyboard, and mouse.... Read More
A student logged in to a student computer and saved files to the Desktop. The next day they were gone.
Added on Thu, Jul 23, 2009
The student computer image is set up so that when a student logs out, the Desktop and Library folders are replaced with the default settings. This data is not backed up, so unfortunately if files were on the student userspace Desktop and logged out... Read More
How do you brighten a computer screen?
Added on Mon, Jul 13, 2009
There are two ways to adjust your display brightness. 1. Use the Function Keys. Tap the F1 key to dim your display, tap the F2 key to make it brighter.  NOTE: If the display does not respond, hold down the fn key in the lower left corner of the... Read More
The Software Update window is up on my screen. Can I update my software? How do I turn off update prompts?
Added on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
Updates to the operating system and standard applications have to be thoroughly researched and tested to insure that they don't negatively impact other existing programs or systems used on the standard staff and student image. Major software and... Read More
My iMac desktop computer won’t boot up. It shuts down immediately after the start up chime.
Added on Fri, Feb 17, 2012
Shut down the computer. Unplug everything from the back of the computer including the computer's power cord. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. Release the power button. Attach the computer's power cable (don't plug in... Read More
How can I set a program to launch automatically when I log on the computer? How do I stop a program from opening automatically when I log on?
Added on Wed, Jul 8, 2009
If you want a frequently used application, document, or other item to open automatically after you log in to Mac OS X, then you can make it a login item. Click on the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences... Read More
What are some good shortcut keys in Mac OS X?
Added on Thu, Aug 6, 2009
Here are some shortcut keys for Mac OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion. For more shortcuts, visit the Apple website. Cmd + N New Document or Finder Window Cmd + A Select All Items Cmd + B Bold Cmd + I Italicize, (In Finder) Get Info Cmd + U... Read More
A gray screen popped up with four languages telling me to restart my computer.
Added on Tue, Jul 21, 2009
This error is known as a kernel panic error. Please hold down the Power button for several seconds until your computer shuts off After the computer shuts off, let go of the Power button. Wait a few seconds and restart the computer. A "kernel... Read More
I accidentally deleted a file from my Desktop. Is it gone forever?
Added on Tue, Jul 21, 2009
When you delete a file in Mac OS X, it moves the file to the Trash (trash basket icon on your Dock). If you haven't emptied your Trash, you can double-click on the Trash icon to view the contents of your Trash. When you find the file you deleted... Read More
How do I create a PDF file from a document?
Added on Wed, Jul 8, 2009
On a Mac, you can easily create a PDF file of a document from almost any application. Open the document from which you want to generate a PDF file (example: open a Word document). In the Menu Bar at the top of your screen, click on File -> Save... Read More
How do I change the date & time on my computer? I keep getting an error message.
Added on Tue, Jul 7, 2009
Often restarting your computer while connected to the district network will reset the date and time if it has lost it's way. If the date and time do not reset while connected to the district network with a wireless connection, try restarting... Read More
My Dock is missing. How can I find the Dock on my computer?
Added on Mon, Jul 6, 2009
Under the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your screen, select Dock then Turn Hiding Off. If that option is not available, then select Position on Bottom instead. Dock, hiding, hidden, missing Read More
How do I change the picture wallpaper on my Desktop and screen saver settings on my Macintosh computer?
Added on Tue, Jun 30, 2009
Change the Desktop Wallpaper Click on the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your screen and select System Preferences. In the top row, click on the Desktop & Screensaver button. On the Desktop tab, select the image you'd like to use as... Read More
I can’t eject a CD or DVD, the eject button doesn’t work. I think it might be stuck.
Added on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
Restart your computer. When you hear the chime (musical sound on startup), hold the mouse-click button down. Keep holding it down until the CD or DVD ejects. If the CD or DVD is still stuck in the drive after the restart, call Tech Support at x6688... Read More
My computer is frozen. I’m getting the spinning beachball aka wheel of death. How can I force quit?
Added on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
The spinning beach ball means that a program is currently processing a task. Wait a few minutes to see if the task completes. If there is no response after a few minutes you can try a Force Quit (Note: When you do a Force Quit you will lose any... Read More
Why does my computer ask me to enter my password when I ask it to "wake up" from sleep or from screen saver?
Added on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
This setting is intended to protect your computer from misuse by someone who is not authorized to do work on your computer. The NSD Technology Department does NOT recommend that you turn this feature off, as it may protect you from being the target... Read More
My computer goes to sleep after just a few minutes. How can I change the sleep settings?
Added on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
Sleep Settings The standard sleep settings are as follows: 60 minutes when plugged in to electrical power (iMac and MacBook) 30 minutes on battery (MacBook only) If your computer goes to sleep in a shorter time period that the standards listed... Read More
How do I take a screenshot (picture) of something displaying on my desktop?
Added on Wed, Jul 15, 2009
On an Apple computer: There are several options to take a screenshot. Screenshots are automatically saved to your desktop as "Screen shot year-month-date at time" as a .png file type. To take a screenshot of the entire desktop Simultaneously hold... Read More
I don’t see my hard drive on my desktop
Added on Fri, Sep 21, 2012
There is a preference in the Finder settings that controls if your hard drive icon is displayed on the desktop. If the hard drive icon is not displayed on your desktop, open the Finder Preferences from the Finder menu and click the box... Read More
On my Mac, how do I merge or combine two PDF files into one?
Added on Tue, Feb 23, 2010
In Mac OS X 10.5 and later, you can merge two PDF documents together using Preview. Right-click (or control+click) on the first PDF file and select Open With -> Preview. In the Menu Bar at the top of your screen, go to View -> Sidebar. A... Read More
How can I turn off Bluetooth on my Mac?
Added on Wed, Nov 4, 2009
Unless you are using a Bluetooth device, the Bluetooth setting should be left off. Here's how to turn off Bluetooth discovery on your Macintosh staff computer. In the upper right corner of your screen in the Menu Bar, click on the Bluetooth icon... Read More